Ballard quits NFL for good…reasons

(Photo credit: Brian Ray/The Gazette-KCRG)

I read a great Man on the Run-type of story this week: Minnesota Vikings’ standout, Christian Ballard, just quit the NFL. A 24-year-old man living his childhood dream and making almost $700,000/yr. walked away from professional sports. Why? Other things mattered more. Ballard told USA TODAY Sports:

“Making that much money—that was fun. But money is still a material thing. You can always make money. You can’t make that time you lose with your friends and your loved ones. Time is something that you can never get back.”

This realization didn’t come easy, and Ballard certainly isn’t claiming to be a saint. He and his wife are having marital problems, as evinced in a recent fight that involved the police. But humility goes a long way, and Ballard’s response to this incident suggests he’s pointed in the right direction. He said,

“I can always treat my wife better, treat my son better, be a better person, be a better son. But I know right now from being out of the NFL that it’s a lot easier to focus on those things because I have time. I’m not wrapped up in this whole other lifestyle.”

Ballard is a work in progress, for sure…but it’s refreshing to see a young man turn away from what instantly appeals in order to focus on what truly matters.


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